Daniel Farkas, M.D., F.A.C.S.

General Surgery
Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery
Bariatric Surgery

1650 Selwyn Ave, #4E Bronx, NY 10457


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Obesity is a multifactorial disease. This means that there are many different reasons why people become obese. Some of it is genetic, some of it is environmental, and some of it is behavioral. As a result, it’s notoriously difficult to overcome.

Lifestyle changes: Obviously the best way to lose weight is to eat less, and exercise more. This can definitely work for some individuals. Everyone knows somebody who has lost 100 pounds just by dieting. However, as a general strategy it’s never been successful for groups of morbidly obese patients. With just lifestyle changes, 95% of morbidly obese patients will be unsuccessful at maintaining significant weight loss over the long term.

Medications: Currently there are only two drugs approved by the FDA for weight loss. These are Meridia and Xenical. The first works by suppressing the appetite, and the second works by blocking absorption of fat. Both are associated with side effects. The average weight loss obtained with these drugs is about 6 to 10%. While this might be helpful for slightly overweight patients, it doesn’t really accomplish much for the morbidly obese patients.

Surgery: In 1991 the National Institute of Health had a Consensus Conference on the subject of surgery for morbid obesity. At that time they came out with guidelines, which are still used to this day. They felt that at a BMI of 40 (or 35 with an associated medical problem), the benefits of having surgery outweighed the risks. In other words, the risk of continuing to be morbidly obese, was higher than the risks of having surgery.



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